These easy beef bowls are a quick and delicious Asian-inspired recipe that makes the perfect weeknight dinner. Ready in about 30 minutes!
Try my Spicy Ground Chicken Stir Fry or Easy Beef Stir Fry next for more takeout-style favorites at home.
Why you'll love it
Making Asian-style food is one of my favorite things to do, especially when it's this tasty and fast. What's not to love about tender beef and a sauce that includes fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce, and a hint of brown sugar? One lovely reader said her only regret was not seeing this recipe sooner!
These beef and rice bowls are Korean inspired, but I do use hoisin sauce, which is Chinese. While not an authentic Asian dish, this ground beef recipe is a totally simple and very satisfying way to enjoy an affordable protein that you'll put on repeat.
What you'll need
- Rice - I like jasmine rice best, but use your favorite
- Ground beef - I prefer using lean (at least 90% lean) ground beef for this recipe because then you don't have to worry about draining the fat
- Brown sugar - for a hint of sweetness to balance the sauce
- Hoisin sauce - it's a dark sauce made with soybeans that has an irresistible flavor uniquely its own. It's sweeter and thicker than soy sauce, savory and tangy, and some have described it as Asian BBQ sauce! Find it in the Asian aisle at most major grocery stores.
- Soy sauce - I use the regular kind, but use low sodium if that's a concern
- Siracha - we're only using enough for a gentle warmth
- Ginger - this gives a zesty, fragrant zing
- Garlic - we're pretty generous, but feel free to add even more
- Red pepper and scallions - for a pop of color and crunch
- To easily grate fresh ginger, store it in the freezer! It sounds unusual, but I've been doing it for years. Use a Microplane to zest it. You'll also never run out of fresh ginger or have it go bad in your fridge.
How to make beef bowls
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the rice. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Take the pan off the burner, and stir in the sauce ingredients.
Reduce the heat, then add the chopped red pepper and cook for a few more minutes until it's tender-crisp. Serve over the rice, garnish with scallions, and enjoy!
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- Mince the garlic effortlessly with one squeeze of a garlic press, and then store the remainder of the cloves in a garlic keeper that looks adorable on your counter.
- I use this versatile Le Creuset skillet for everything from stir fries to stovetop chicken recipes.
- A cooking spoon is what I use to break up the beef while it's cooking.
Substitutions and variations
- This is the type of recipe where you can definitely adjust the sauce ingredients to taste, so don't be shy! I love to add extra hoisin sauce to mine.
- Some readers enjoy doubling the sauce completely if you're into lots of sauce! As written, it doesn't make tons.
- I added a red pepper bell for color and a bit of freshness. If you don't like them, you could leave it out. It won't make or break the recipe.
- You don't need to go out and buy sriracha sauce just for this recipe if you never use it, but I do like the flavor it adds. I didn't use a lot so as not to make it too spicy for most people, but you can always add more if you want to give this recipe more heat.
What to serve with these ground beef bowls
- You don't need to top them with sesame seeds like I did, but it adds a little additional contrast and texture. Fresh bean sprouts would be another great topping for some crunch.
- If you're not into the rice, swap it out to make a beef noodle bowl. Try Udon, ramen noodles, or rice noodles.
- Other options are serving it over cauliflower rice, quinoa, or with other veggies.
Leftovers and storage
- Store any leftovers for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. I'd make fresh rice when you eat it.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat, and you may want to add some extra hoisin sauce and/or sriracha because it tends to dry out a bit the longer you leave it.
- You can freeze it for up to 3 months.
More easy ground beef recipes
If you gave these easy Asian beef bowls a try, please leave a star rating and review below! Let me know if you have questions not answered in the post. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made it.
Easy Beef Bowls
- 1 cup uncooked rice I used white jasmine rice
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- Garnish (optional): scallions, sesame seeds
- Cook the rice according to package directions. If you have a different amount you usually make for 4 people, just make your usual amount.
- Meanwhile, add the beef to a skillet over medium-high heat and break it up with your spoon as you go along until it's cooked (approx. 8-10 minutes). If there's a lot of excess fat, drain most of it.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the sauce ingredients (sugar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, and garlic).
- Reduce the heat to medium and return the pan to the heat. Add the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are tender-crisp.
- Serve the beef over the rice and garnish as desired.
- To easily grate fresh ginger, freeze a whole piece. It grates much easier and you'll always have some on-hand. This Microplane is the handy tool I use to grate/zest it.
- If you don't have sriracha sauce, you can leave it out. If you love sriracha, don't hesitate to add more than 1 teaspoon!
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on August 3, 2019. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!
So good thanks for this easy recipe. I didn’t have hoisin sauce so I used an apple cinnamon bbq sauce and I doubled the sauce. Delicious!
So happy you were able to tweak it!
Jenn E says
This recipe was really good. I made some changes as I didn’t have brown sugar or bell pepper. My husband doesn’t like scallions or sesame seeds.
I used regular white sugar and cooked carrots on the side and just threw them on top of the bowl with a drizzle of sauce that I saw was recommended to double so I did and it was a good suggestion. Even with my substitutions it was amazing! I didn’t have the ginger but I had powdered. 1/4 teaspoon was still too much it made it a little spicy I’d do even less than that but like I said it was still amazing
So glad you were able to tweak it!
This recipe was super fast to make, clean up was minimal, and the best part is that we have enough for leftovers!
I substituted the ground beef for ground turkey and it was delicious! My husband loved it because it was just the right amount of spicy and sweet and totally different from what we normally eat.
10/10 would make again!
I'm thrilled to hear it! Thanks for your review, Leah! 😀
Christi Brown says
We loved this dish! I had eyed it for a while and I’m so glad I finally made it. It was easy to make, requiring minimal prep work and cook time. But the flavors are anything but minimal. I also added some chopped carrots when I added the bell pepper because I had some on hand. Delicious!!!
I'm thrilled it was a hit, Christi!
Delicious and easy! I've made this several times now. Most recently, I used 1/2 a pound of ground beef, as it's a little too meaty for me as written. I kept everything else the same, and it turned out great! So easy and flavorful. I love the idea of adding cashews or matchstick carrots - will definitely try that next time!
I'm so glad it's a new favorite for you, Amanda! 🙂
Really yummy, didn't seem saucy enough so we'll be doubling up the sauce ingredients next time.
I'm so glad you liked it, Audra! Yes, there is a note in the blog post suggesting that as an option as I have received similar reader feedback, so you could definitely try that next time. 🙂
Rebecca Dankha says
Love love love this recipe. It’s my go-to on a busy day. Even stores well in the freezer as a back up last minute dinner
My husband and I loved this meal! I added broccoli, carrots and red onions oh and some asparagus (but don’t tell my hubby, he doesn’t like it) lol
Haha excellent. I'm so glad you guys loved it!
This recipe is a home run! So delicious and comes together super quick. My kids (ages 10 & 8) love this meal. It’s also a great freezer meal! I like to double the beef/sauce portion and then freeze half of it. Then all you gotta do is reheat the beef, make some rice and slice some scallions and dinner’s made! I’m typically very truthful to recipes, but thought it could benefit from a bit of acid. One tablespoon of rice wine vinegar did the trick! Thank you for this recipe!!
I'm so glad you liked it, Rachel!! 🙂
Very very good., Cashews were a great add! Glad I found this recipe!
So glad you liked it!
This recipe is so good and so easy! The sauce gives the meat amazing flavor, but I would recommend making some extra sauce to add on top of it to get more into the rice. I am not a big Asian food fan and I loved this dish!
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it, Raija!
Scott Eisenbraun says
Wife and I made. Sliced a serano chili and stir fried for more heat. We added sesame oil at end. Delicious. Will make often. Quick and satisfying.
Excellent!! Glad you two enjoyed the recipe, Scott! Thanks for your review. 🙂
We loved these beef rice bowls! Would cashews be a good addition?
So happy to hear it!! I think cashews would be delicious in here!
Trying to use “pantry” items for my recipes. I was going to substitute roasted red peppers for the regular red pepper. Think that will work. Thank you for the recipe. Will fix it tomorrow night.
Hi! It will definitely change the flavor, but as long as you enjoy the taste of roasted red peppers, I think it should be good!
Ok, I love this one! I've added my own twist by including 1-2 finely diced sweet potatoes and zucchini. So filling and delicious.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Great to hear, Erin! Love those additions! 🙂
Could you use powdered ginger and if so, how much to substitute? I don't always have fresh on hand, although I love the trick of freezing it!
So, I would go very easy on powdered ginger. I find if you add too much it can really ruin a dish. I'd say 1/4 teaspoon or less to start with. Let me know if you try the freezing ginger trick - I love it! 😀
Made this tonight and it was fantastic! Toddler approved by my 4 and 2 year old. I’m glad I made extra sauce as I wanted some more in my bowl. Next time I will double this and add some other veggies like carrots, broccoli or zucchini. So flavourful! No leftovers thanks for the help on a weeknight! Pro tip: make extra sauce in case you want more or for next time! It’s so good!
That's awesome!!! Appreciate your review, Anisha! 😀
Quick easy and tasty I added chopped red chilli for extra heat .
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
This is a family favorite! It’s so easy and the flavors are excellent. Do yourself a favor and double it!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's so nice to hear your family enjoyed it, Jenny! 🙂
This looks yummy. I have a question regarding the ginger. You have to peel it prior to grating it, correct? Do you freeze it peeled already?
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Hi Maria! We freeze it with the skin on. It protects it from getting freezer burn. You then grate the skin off the part of the ginger that you'd like to use. Takes a few seconds, then once you hit the inside, you just add that part to the recipe as needed. Enjoy!! 🙂
This is one of our favourite recipes— it’s a weekly occurrence in our house!
I double the sauce and sneak in more veg by adding sliced mushroom, celery and carrot.
Thanks for posting it!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
I love that! So happy your home enjoys it, Taylor 🙂
MY ONLY REGRET WAS NOT SEEING THIS RECIPE SOONER! DELICIOUS , I USED ALL THE INGREDIENTS AND IT WAS PERFECTION. THIS WILL BE A NEW REGULAR MEAL IN OUR HOUSE 🏠
Fantastic!! 😀 Thanks, Christine!
I absolutely love this!!!! It is perfect for meal prepping! I doubled the sauce so it didn’t get dried out. Now I just have to get my kids to try it but I will definitely make this often.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! 🙂
This was so good. I added an onion and some broccoli. I will double the sauce next time. Grandson's approved.
Fantastic!! 🙂 Thanks, Nancy!
Can I substitute the brown sugar with something else like honey? Or omit it altogether?
Hi! I think honey should be fine. You could omit it, but it'll then make a bit less sauce and of course be a bit less sweet. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂
Beverly Weisbaum says
Can the beef part of this be frozen maybe divided into single serving sizes and then added to rice, etc?
Hi! You could, but you may want to double the sauce if doing that. This dish doesn't have a ton of sauce to begin with, and I feel like by the time you thaw and re-heat, it may end up a bit dry.
This recipe is a favorite and often lands on our weekly rotation. When we are feeling extra fancy we put an over easy egg on top - it is delicious!
Love that idea!! 🙂
Does the nutrition include the rice? Thank you! Great recipe
Yes it does. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it, Ashley!
Gina Gunn says
I made this, but I substituted the beef with chicken. It was great. We had NO leftovers!
Kandace Furlong says
My wife and I made this and WOW, not sure anything this easy has ever slapped that hard - this recipe is the online form of pure FIRE. I'm drooling, probably have to make it again tonight.
Haha I love that. Thank you!!
Brenda Woods says
Quickly became a family fav. Used a teason- ish of ginger paste instead of fresh. Also added crushed red chili flakes. Added scallion in with pepper adore to garnish. So easy and delish
Fantastic!! I'm so glad it's a hit in your home, Brenda!
I made this minus the ginger (I hate ginger) & I sautéed the whites of the green onions with the ingredients & garnished with the greens. It was awesome. I’ve tried a few bulgoggi recipes that disappointed but this beef bowl was more what I wanted for taste & it was a hit. We’ve made it twice in a few weeks. Easy & quick after a workday when you don’t feel like cooking. I can’t wait to try more recipes-it’s hard to find good ones that actually turn out well & so I’m excited about finding your site!
I'm so happy you like it so much!! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment. Let me know if you try anything else.
emily powers says
This recipe was so delicious and my entire family loved it! I did add water chestnuts, shitake mushrooms and the white parts of the scallions to the beef and will probable make more sauce next time because it was sooooo good! Thanks for the recipe! This will be added as a regular to our rotation.
That's awesome!! So glad you liked it. You're welcome! Your additions sound delish.
Definitely adding to weekly rotation! My kids and husband loved this recipe, as did I!
Woo hoo!! Thank you 🙂
This is my sons favorite dinner I’ve ever made . I also doubled the sauce and never have any leftovers. My family loves every single recipe I’ve gotten from your site. Thank you for all your delicious recipes.
Awww I love that, Tara!! 😀 That makes me so happy. You're very welcome!